When I receive a box from a brewery, they usually come in two flavors: those from the front of the house, and those from the production side. The former is usually from a 30bbl+ brewery with a budget and a plucky PR person clutching a communications degree and follow up emails “circling back around” to see what I thought of their core BevMo lineup.
You can tell when a brewer sends a box. It is usually busting at the seams with that overpacked, flighty efficiency that buzzes in the mind of a grain steeper. A brewer will send things they HAVE to send, whatever they are sick of seeing, that IPA that occupies their tanks for 70% of their lives. They will sometimes send things they SHOULD send, the hype release, the vanilla and coconut barrel aged release that they hang their hat on. The flex offerings.
What interests me most are the beers brewers send strictly because they WANT to send them. You can spot them instantly. Some bizarre biere de garde that is draft only. A crowler of a zwickelbier with a crude note explaining the water chemistry. The Baltic porter that absolutely no one orders and it sits on draft to the dismay of the CFO and is brewed strictly to appease the guys pulling hoses, making $10.65 an hour.
This is a “WANT” beer. Asheville’s Eurisko Brewing is a brewer’s brewery. Who sends a gigantic crowler of Dunkel? These guys. I pushed aside the BA stout because this immediately expressed purpose, and it is extremely well done. The nose is almond skins, slightly estery fig, scorched wheat toast, just drillable. The flavor skews bitter from a malt structure, not the hops, has amazing retention especially in crowler format, smattering of zucchini bread and poppyseed muffin. The beer closes dry, toasted rye loaf, munich malt, and baby’s first Melanoidins.
I respect when a brewery takes a swing and sends something like this, I love it even more when it is this well done. Dunkels top out at like a 3.9 on Untappd, so this amazing example sits in that fantastic realm of “mediocrity.”
It’s incredible when people fight a pandemic to make something this classic, to put it in hands and livers, North Carolina juice silently getting us through this tedious plague.